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#37571 - 06/17/14 09:56 PM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: Harvey Lankford
Even a 2 foot fall is a dangerous cliff. Presumably he was off trail, and so there are cliffs everywhere, 2 ft and more .

For that matter, you do not even need a cliff. Just falling from your own height is bad enough. All of us are speculators, and someone will say morbid. But lessons are there.


I could not agree with you more, Harvey. A dear friend slipped on solid ground, fell wrong and sadly, it was fatal.

I have just about outlawed "flip-flops" for my elderly mother for this reason.
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The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#37572 - 06/17/14 09:57 PM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: Bee]
lynn-a-roo Offline


Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 627
Loc: OrangeCounty
Bee, I know the cliff they're talking about. I and my friends have many pictures at this location on the trail. I will look to see if I can find one to post. This missing hiker has been on my mind ever since I heard about this. His friends who left him behind make me mad. I hate hearing that his friends did not stay with him.

I remember a cliff as you leave Outpost camp to make your way down to Lone Pine Lake but it sounds like he may not have made it this far, if he did he would have found his friends. My friends and I walked along the meadow leaving Outpost and walked too far. When we turned right at what we thought was a trail at the end of the meadow we walked right into a cliff and abruptly stopped. Wow, what a shocker that was. We were glad e had daylight, if it were night time one or all of us could have been goners.

I believe if you are disoriented you should STOP and STAY at the first moment you realize something is wrong. Hopefully you're a smart hiker who carries emergency supplies.

I'm still hoping he will be found alive.

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#37573 - 06/17/14 10:02 PM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: lynn-a-roo]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
I guess I need to pay more attention; none of this cliff-talk is ringing any bells. I guess I need a refresher smile

In the meantime, any "photo" refreshers would bee appreciated.
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#37574 - 06/17/14 10:11 PM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: Bee]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: Bee
I guess I need to pay more attention; none of this cliff-talk is ringing any bells. I guess I need a refresher smile

In the meantime, any "photo" refreshers would bee appreciated.


not sure myself, but I imagine it is the area towards the lake here, as the trail actually goes on to the east, rather than directly down to the lake


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#37575 - 06/17/14 10:21 PM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: Fishmonger]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Ah, yes -- this is the granite area I remember while hiking away from the lake.

Sometimes I get tunnel vision when I am hiking, and I forget to look at the big picture (bee-ing somewhat of a non-photographer has its disadvantages)
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#37576 - 06/17/14 10:35 PM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: lynn-a-roo]
Hangin Tough Offline


Registered: 06/10/14
Posts: 5
Loc: Lancaster California
I have often hiked in groups with hikers that hike at different paces. Hiking outside of your own pace, faster or slower, wears you down faster then hiking at your own pace. I get the feeling from the groups post that this group had hiked together before. I am sure that if they would have had any idea that their friend need their help. They would have been glued to his side. I do not get the impression they left him behind.

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#37577 - 06/17/14 10:37 PM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: Fishmonger]
Hangin Tough Offline


Registered: 06/10/14
Posts: 5
Loc: Lancaster California
Great pic Fishmonger. That is exactly the area that has been discussed.

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#37580 - 06/18/14 02:45 AM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: Bee]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1255
Loc: Atlanta
Bee, it's where the trail turns slabby on the ascent, just above timberline. Not particularly challenging on the way up, but on the descent, even with no snow, it's easy to lose the trail if you're not paying attention. There's one spot in particular where you need to swing left as you head down, but it's not real evident due to the slabby granite. Bearing straight ahead or to the right will take you to the cliffy section and potential trouble in very short order. I've had to backtrack to the correct route a couple of times in this area when my mind was wandering or I was focused on a conversation.

Really, if you're following the trail, this is the only area of any danger between Trail and Outpost camps. Fingers crossed for a good outcome, but 3 days . . .

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#37581 - 06/18/14 05:40 AM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: Bulldog34]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
In July, in the high snow year, a friend and I made that error and stayed right, going down a gentle slab chute rather than staying on the partially snow- covered trail above Mirror Lake. We figured out our error quickly enough, but didn't backtrack -- it was morning and we had both good weather and good light. Instead, we figured out a safe way down that required a creek crossing and dropped us below Mirror Lake just above the switchbacks leading to Outpost. My friend, who was leading, was initially headed for the cliffs above Outpost. Having been on the trail before, and consulting topo, I warned her off and we turned left/north before the cliffs to drop down to the creek (there is one safe place to do this). Pretty sure we hooked up with a shortcut/section of the old trail during this detour.


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#37582 - 06/18/14 06:05 AM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: Fishmonger]
lynn-a-roo Offline


Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 627
Loc: OrangeCounty
Fishmonger,

Ye, this is the cliff area I was seeing in my mind. Great photo of the area.

Regarding my last post about a cliff near Outpost camp NOT FAR FROM where the trail leads down to Lone Pine Lake, I probably should have used the term "drop-off" instead of "cliff". It is a serious drop-off of about 10 to 15 feet surrounded by boulders, trees and shrubs. It could hurt someone seriously.

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#37584 - 06/18/14 08:28 AM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: lynn-a-roo]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Thanks for the refresher -- especially the picture, Fish.

I am lucky that my buddies are patient enough to hang with me.
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#37586 - 06/18/14 09:02 AM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: BruinDave]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 502
Loc: Nashville, TN
Originally Posted By: BruinDave
Hey Bee:

If it's the same location I'm thinking of, it's where Mirror Lake first comes into view on your left when descending the Main Trail from Trailside Meadow.

BruinDave


The very same spot.



Here is an image from Backpacker.com
This is just of the MWMT. The trail here heads out of frame to the right along the granite bluffs before switchbacking down the northward face of the bluffs directly over Mirror Lake proper.

Once you bottom out near the shore, you cross the outlet of the lake before switchbacking down to Outpost Camp.
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#37587 - 06/18/14 09:04 AM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: Fishmonger]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 502
Loc: Nashville, TN
Fishmonger, I didn't read through the thread, but you nailed it. This is the exact area I was talking about.
_________________________
@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for landscape and mountain photo spamming...

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#37588 - 06/18/14 09:05 AM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: Akichow]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Here's a google earth screenshot of the area:



The first 'lost' hiker we met said that he got lost in the hills above Mirror Lake. He said that he was following what he thought was the trail, but it ended up going to a campsite. Just beyond it he said there was a cliff.

From my trip report:
Originally Posted By: HikingGeek.com

Before reaching Lone Pine Lake, we met someone who was descending without summiting. He had struggled up to Trail Camp and spent the afternoon dry heaving. After sleeping for the night, he felt better and had made it up to switchback 75 or 80. At that point he decided to turn around, but his friends continued on. On his way off the mountain, he said he got lost between Trail Camp and Mirror Lake, losing at least an hour.


The 2nd lost hiker was wandering around the hills to the South East of Outpost. If you're standing in camp and looking at the waterfall, he was to the far left.

Originally Posted By: HikingGeek.com
We reached camp around 5:15 pm. By 7:00 pm we had eaten, repacked our bags for the summit attempt and had prepared for bed. I set an alarm for 1 am. If we slept well, the plan was to eat and leave by 1:30 am, in the hopes of being on Trail Crest to watch the sunrise.
We woke up and got ready as planned. To our surprise, a hiker had lost the trail and was yelling down to us from the hills to the left of the waterfall at Outpost Camp. When he saw our headlamps, he started yelling ‘Please help me, I’ve lost the trail,’ or something along those lines. We told him the the trail was ‘this way’ and to walk towards our headlamps. After about 30 mins, he made it to our camp. He had told us that he had been on the trail for 20 hrs and that he thought his ‘mates’ would be out there looking for him. It wasn’t clear if these were people he started the hike with or not. We made sure he had enough food/water to make it back to Whitney Portal and got him started on the trail down. It was 2:30 by the time we started hiking towards Trail Camp.
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HikingGeek.com

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#37589 - 06/18/14 09:10 AM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: Bob West]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Although tangential...

Are you really hiking in a group? Many start up together but in a few hours they are separated by miles. This is the meetup.com way of hiking which can lead to what my friends and I call mufu. A few years ago, 30 odd people went of Mt. San Gorgonio and one less came back. Even this person's carpool mate split. This person eventually was found alive, I believe in the Big Falls area.

What has been stated almost all the other posts are good ideas of how to keep groups safely together but this is age of it is all about me. I want what I want when I want...and I want to be on the summit in 12 hours and I don't care if someone in my group can only do it in 16.

The name of the game is trust. Do you trust the people you are going out with to be there for you. If you don't, it is incumbent you find people you do trust or you might as well hike alone.

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#37591 - 06/18/14 09:58 AM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: wbtravis]
Daves Not Here Offline


Registered: 06/12/14
Posts: 20
Loc: Lost Angeles
From WBTRAVIS 'Are you really hiking in a group? Many start up together but in a few hours they are separated by miles. This is the meetup.com way of hiking which can lead to what my friends and I call mufu. '

Thank you for your unjust generalization that all meet up groups hike this way. I happen to own a meet up hike group. We are 2000 strong and have been hiking 4 years this coming November. In this time we have not left one person behind or had to report one of members missing.

Again from WBTRAVIS 'The name of the game is trust. Do you trust the people you are going out with to be there for you. If you don't, it is incumbent you find people you do trust or you might as well hike alone.'

This is not a game. Hiking in any venue requires knowledge. Knowledge of your limits is the first priority. Second is knowing your surroundings. Third is preparation, having the proper clothing, equipment and supplies you need to reach your destination and to make a safe return.

Members of my group that can't or don't want to follow these simple guidelines are not allowed to participate in our events.

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#37593 - 06/18/14 11:06 AM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: Daves Not Here]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1024
Loc: Richmond, Virginia

The capability of a party is never greater than its weakest participant.

George Ingle Finch
George W Rodway, ed
George Ingle Finch’s The Struggle for Everest, p 180

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#37594 - 06/18/14 11:31 AM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: wbtravis]
2Old4This Offline


Registered: 05/27/14
Posts: 51
Loc: Northern California
@wbtravis

My point as well. The missing hiker may have thought he was hiking in a group, but it was a solo hike for him. By leaving him behind, his companions took away the assistance and safety that a group should provide. If anything his hike became more dangerous than a typical solo attempt. At least if you are planning a solo attempt, you are prepared for it. At least for me, I prepare differently for a group hike, both mentally and how I pack. The big lesson for me, is if you are hiking in a group stay in a group.

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#37598 - 06/18/14 02:10 PM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: Akichow]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1255
Loc: Atlanta
Originally Posted By: Akichow
In July, in the high snow year, a friend and I made that error and stayed right, going down a gentle slab chute rather than staying on the partially snow- covered trail above Mirror Lake. We figured out our error quickly enough, but didn't backtrack -- it was morning and we had both good weather and good light. Instead, we figured out a safe way down that required a creek crossing and dropped us below Mirror Lake just above the switchbacks leading to Outpost. My friend, who was leading, was initially headed for the cliffs above Outpost. Having been on the trail before, and consulting topo, I warned her off and we turned left/north before the cliffs to drop down to the creek (there is one safe place to do this). Pretty sure we hooked up with a shortcut/section of the old trail during this detour.



I believe I recall that trip, Karin - 2011? Didn't we share a brew or two at the Portal just prior? And, yes, that was one of the years I got off-track on those slabs as well. We backtracked, however. You were already adventurous!

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#37600 - 06/18/14 03:31 PM Re: Missing Whitney Hiker [Re: Bob West]
Anon
Unregistered


Bottom line we should always have that "what if..." mindset for every possible situation in order to use proper judgement. But this is not about a lecture.

My main concern is that they find this man very soon...hopefully unharmed. My thoughts are with him, his family, and the group he went up there with.

This is a horrible thing to happen and it can happen to anyone if someone lets down their judgement for one millisecond.

Any current updates?

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